U.S. Government and Industry Coming into Closer Alignment on Information Security Priorities and Solutions, Finds Survey of Government Chiefs

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(ISC)2® (“ISC-squared”), the world’s largest not-for-profit information security professional body and administrators of the CISSP®, today announced key U.S. government findings from its 2011 Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) conducted by industry analysts Frost & Sullivan.

This study further highlights the urgency and magnitude of the government’s challenge to hire and educate skilled professionals who can handle the continually evolving challenges associated with safeguarding the nation’s data and infrastructure,

U.S. Government and Industry Coming into Closer Alignment on Information Security Priorities and Solutions, Finds Survey of Government Chiefs
Potentially Dangerous Gap Identified Between Goals for Cloud Implementation and Security Skills Required to Effectively Protect It

(ISC)2® (“ISC-squared”), the world’s largest not-for-profit information security professional body and administrators of the CISSP®, today announced key U.S. government findings from its 2011 Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) conducted by industry analysts Frost & Sullivan.

Most significantly, the study, based on an electronic survey of 10,413 respondents from private and public sectors worldwide, found that the U.S. government is coming into closer alignment on information security priorities and solutions with their private sector counterparts, with both groups focused on addressing application vulnerabilities and the potential exposure of confidential and sensitive information, data loss and leaks posed by the growth in cloud computing, the proliferation of mobile devices and the increasing use of social media.

“At one time, information security in the government sector was very different from the private sector,” the report read, noting that while government has long been focused on applying strong controls around the confidentiality of information, corporate entities are only now being forced to apply greater attention to the practice because of attacks on their data and infrastructure and tighter regulatory requirements.
This shift means that the “issues facing government CIOs and CISOs and commercial CIOs and CISOs are highly similar,” study authors stated, adding that the only real differences lie in the government’s added concerns over internal attacks, cyber terrorism and organized crime.

The responses of 145 C-level U.S. government survey participants confirmed the government’s demand for cloud technologies but also identified the need for more education to overcome a significant and potentially dangerous gap that exists between the goals of CISOs and the security skills required to protect these services. Specifically, respondents noted, information security professionals require a more detailed understanding of cloud computing, enhanced technical knowledge and better contract negotiation skills. Furthermore, Frost & Sullivan believes that government CIOs and CISOs better understand the security risks posed by cloud computing and will, therefore, be more secure in their deployment of cloud-based technology.

On the personnel front, government salaries for information security professionals are rising, a fact that also illustrates the importance agencies place on the protection of data and infrastructure. According to the study, 57 percent of federal CIOs and CISOs report salaries of $100,000 or more annually, compared to just 42 percent of worldwide respondents, overcoming the perception that government jobs are less lucrative than those in the private sector. Moreover, the federal government places a high value on certification, with 63 percent of government CIOs and CISOs affirming that certification is very important and plays a significant role in hiring decisions, compared to only 45 percent of worldwide survey respondents.

“This study further highlights the urgency and magnitude of the government’s challenge to hire and educate skilled professionals who can handle the continually evolving challenges associated with safeguarding the nation’s data and infrastructure,” said W. Hord Tipton, CISSP-ISSEP, CAP, CISA, executive director of (ISC)² and former CIO for the U.S. Department of the Interior. “Federal CISOs and CIOs are under tremendous pressure to make sure they identify and put in place the right people with the right skills and the right continuing education policies. This report would indicate that they are on the right track but have a long road ahead of them.”

Fortunately, competitive salaries and the emphasis on professionalization bodes well for the career prospects of certified information security personnel within the government, Frost & Sullivan noted in its conclusions. Frost anticipates the number of U.S. federal information security employees to grow from 27,000 employees in 2010 to over 61,000 employees in 2015. To download a copy of the report, “The 2011 (ISC)2 Global Information Security Workforce Study – A U.S. Government CISO Perspective,” visit http://www.isc2.org/gisws2011.

Links:
About (ISC)2
About Frost & Sullivan
2011 Global Information Security Workforce Study

Media Contact:
Courtney Jewell Beveridge
Extension Group
(703) 618-8205
cbeveridge(at)extensiongroup(dot)com

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